It wasn’t hard to identify which team answered the bell during the second half of the Battle of the Bell.
Mt. Spokane (5-1) outscored Mead 20-0 after halftime Friday at Albi Stadium to dispatch main rival Mead 30-14 in the annual spirit game.
The Wildcats trailed 14-10 when senior Dalton Dixon intercepted Payton Loucks during Mead’s first possession of the second half. The pickoff led to Mt. Spokane’s go-ahead score, Dillon Lionello’s 1-yard run with 9 minutes, 42 seconds left in the third quarter and two subsequent short touchdown runs by Dixon.
“We just played better, bottom line,” Wildcats coach Terry Cloer said. “We didn’t change much. We just had to execute and we got better. … We got some guys blocked and we got physical in the second half, like we like to do.”
“We knew we could play better, but we didn’t point fingers,” said Mt. Spokane senior quarterback Mitch Speer, who completed 14 of 26 passes for 143 yards. “We stayed together as a team and we proved that in the second half. … The game started to shift and we had momentum once we scored a couple of times.”
Dixon had TD runs of 4 and 3 yards to help put the game away. His 4-yard run with 1:28 left in the third quarter capped a 17-play, 80-yard drive and gave the Wildcats a 23-14 edge.
“In the third quarter, when Dalton Dixon ran it in from (4) yards out, he just put our team on his back,” Speer said. … “I think that was the play of the game right there.”
“Everyone was doing their job and we were fixing mistakes that we had at the beginning,” said Dixon, who finished with 55 tough yards. … “(The interception) was a big momentum shift and it just kind of fueled the fire for the team and we played a lot harder after that. … It was just kind of ground-pound and everyone was blocking.”
“The holes aren’t always big, but we were using our big backs to pound it in there a little bit,” Cloer said.
On its first possession of the game, Mead took over at the Mt. Spokane 43-yard line and moved to the 9 before junior QB Thomas Dammarell attempted an ill-advised pitch. Wildcats sophomore Cole Hattenburg intercepted the pitch and steamed 91 yards for a TD.
Mead (3-3) coughed up another interception, this one by Loucks, with 5:29 left in the quarter. Mt. Spokane’s drive stalled.
The Wildcats’ offense sputtered much of the quarter. Their initial first down came on a roughing the quarterback penalty just before the quarter ended.
Dammarell atoned for his earlier interception by racing 73 yards for the tying score on a draw play with 10:59 left in the half.
The Wildcats got possession at the Mead 20 after the Panthers were nearly tackled in the end zone midway through the quarter. The drive moved to the 9, but the Panthers pushed back and Mt. Spokane settled for sophomore Cody McDonald’s 31-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead.
Before halftime, Loucks directed a 75-yard drive for a 14-10 lead. Loucks completed six passes during the drive, capped by a perfectly lofted 34-yard score to Brown.
Loucks finished 18 for 28 for 226 yards.
Ferris 34, Shadle Park 6: Junior Jonny Via rushed for 154 yards, junior Logan Bunker threw three short TD passes and the Saxons (2-4) held the Highlanders (1-5) to two first downs during the night’s opener at Albi.
Bunker threw TD passes of 7 and 8 yards to freshman Brock Bozett. The second TD pass, with 11:14 left in the game, gave Ferris a 34-0 lead.
The Saxons took their opening possession 72 yards in 12 plays, capped by senior James Mann’s 2-yard TD run. Via began the drive with a 26-yard run.
Via reached halftime with 132 rushing yards, helping Ferris outgain Shadle Park 284-23. The Saxons had 14 first downs in the first half while the Highlanders had none.
Shadle’s initial first down came with 4:31 left in the game on a Ferris penalty. Three plays later, the Highlanders avoided the shutout on junior Ethan Eickstadt’s 25-yard TD pass to sophomore Kyle Cozza.
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